It’s no secret that the Queen Mary has seen better days — but Long Beach, along with the ship’s operator, has a plan to resurrect its former glory.
Urban Commons, the firm tasked with managing one of the city’s most-prized assets, has agreed to release a 30-year plan to preserve and improve the historic vessel within the next 90 days, along with other commitments.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced the initiatives during his State of the City address Tuesday, Jan. 14. Urban Commons followed up on Wednesday, Jan. 15, providing more insight into what that work will entail.
A statement from the company said officials will use information from previous environmental reports, engineering reports and marine studies — including one from 2015 that estimated the ship needed between $235 million and $289 million in repair work to avoid reaching “the point of no return” — to develop the plan.
Urban Commons has retained A.M. Marine Surveys and John A. Martin Associates, Inc. to perform a peer review of the reports and create what has been dubbed the Historic Preservation Blueprint. That review is set to begin this month.
“During her life, the Queen Mary has transported royalty and refugees, soldiers and celebrities, and now she lives in Long Beach as a historic international treasure,” Urban Commons Principal Howard Wu said in a statement. “Akin to the ship herself, while we need a robust and realistic blueprint, this plan must be flexible, with the ability to evolve and pivot as needed.”
The document will cover all aspects of the ship, including its structure and aesthetics, along with its mechanical, electrical and internal engineering.
The plan also will be more than a point-in-time analysis. Urban Commons, officials said, would ensure inspections are done annually and deeper dives are done every five years. Those surveys will complement city-commissioned monthly inspections. (Although Long Beach ended its contract with the Queen Mary’s longtime inspector earlier this month, officials have said those inspections will resume with another contractor later this year.)
“There have been many reports and surveys addressing the state of the Queen Mary, and while they may identify preservation projects of today, what about tomorrow, in five or 10 years, or when the historic ship will provide the iconic backdrop to the 2028 Olympics on the Long Beach waterfront?” Wu said. “Maintenance and preservation on our iconic landmark is an ongoing investment, and this blueprint will outline exactly that.”
The Historic Preservation Blueprint will be updated at least once a year, but could be adjusted more often.
Urban Commons also announced Wednesday that the firm has funding in place to ensure the projects the blueprint identifies are completed. New revenue sources include an expanded Queen Mary event calendar and agreements with the city and Carnival Cruise Line.
Urban Commons purchased the long-term lease to the Queen Mary and surrounding land in 2015, then negotiated a new 66-year lease approved by the City Council.
Officials said the company also hopes to use the 40 acres surrounding the ship — the site of the long-awaited Queen Mary Island development — to generate more money in the future. Garcia said Tuesday that Urban Commons will release a plan for that site by the fall.
““For the first time, Urban Commons has established additional income sources for the Queen Mary, which feed into a reserve fund to ensure the longevity of the ship,” Wu said. “By utilizing the 40 surrounding acres, additional revenue will continue to be generated and we’re excited to share our updated plans for the area around the Queen Mary later this year.”